Sunday, May 15, 2011

Misty v. The Mystique

Like most women (sorry girls – we know it’s true), my mare, Misty Mystique, has two distinct personalities. Sometimes she loves me and is super affectionate and all-around cute. Other times, she hates me with a passion. And unfortunately, this love/hate relationship carries over into our ride time.

'Misty,' my well-behaved/usually sleepy horse

When Misty is being her normal self, she is ‘Misty.’ She listens, tries to please me, and is just your average good horse. She has never been one to really enjoy going out, training hard, and being ridden, but she seems content enough to do what I ask of her. On the rare occasion that she’s “just not feeling it,” as my sister would say, we refer to her as, ‘The Mystique.’

After a ride my friend Kelsey will send me a text asking, “Who did you have today? Misty or The Mystique?”

Sometimes, I’m lucky enough to start out a ride with Misty…but will get a glimpse of The Mystique as I progress. Case in point: last week Misty and I were in our ring doing lots of trot work. As I mentioned in a previous post, Misty was fairly out of shape, so we’re doing lots of trotting to build her muscles back. I was one circle away from being finished when The Mystique came out and decided that, no, we were actually done now. She didn’t want to continue trotting and kept trying to twist her head, drag my left rein out of my hand, and dart into the center of the ring.

'The Mystique' would like to see my head on a silver platter...or any platter, for that matter.

At this time, my mom, produced ‘Mr. Crop,’ who was able to persuade Misty to shed her Mystique-ness and finish the ride quietly. Oh the Mystique.

My BFF / The Mystique's enemy, Mr. Crop

Now that Misty is getting fit again, I’ve added cantering back into our lessons. For those of you who don’t know, the canter is another gait, faster than the trot, just slower than a gallop. It’s my favorite gait as it has a rocking horse motion to it, but since it requires Misty to go faster, thus putting forth more effort, she hates it. Therefore, cantering can be a little scary!

Last week, I asked Misty for the canter and she willing obliged (shocking!)…but as she slowed around a corner and I urged her forward with my legs, The Mystique reared her ugly head and delivered a good-sized buck. Apparently, she felt I was out of line asking her to keep up the pace. Luckily, I have good balance, so I stayed in the saddle.

In addition to being well-balanced, I am also quite stupid because I asked her to continue cantering even after she had made it very clear that she was over this part of the lesson. Thankfully, Mr. Crop again persuaded ‘Misty’ to return and canter a few more smooth circles.

I have to say – though Misty can be a challenge, I love mares…they’re so much fun!